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TOPIC: Experts, please advise

Experts, please advise 21 Mar 2007 15:47 #14664

  • cft
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There is an old theatre where I live that is in desperate need, for sale for around $500K. It has not been used for films in decades and needs much work--it is an historic landmark. I want to renovate it and make it a 2-screen theatre with a full bar and app menu. The theatre is located in a downtown that is growing fast. The current owners will not agree to lease if we sell alcohol-it's the Bible belt--so buying is the only option for this location.
Our town is 45K people but part of a larger metropolis. We would be competing with two multis but I want to specialize in arthouse theatre since those movies NEVER make it to our multis. I'm considering couches instead of theatre seating but am worried about the sloping floor. I know we would have the clientel--there is so much support for our Downtown even the local chamber would help promote us. I am a woman and qualify for grants, but I have no interest in running as a non-profit--I want to make money. Am I wasting time and money on an old building?
Is a movie pub too much for me to take on without hiring a partner to run the kitchen?
I am willing to steal money from my retirement (not a lot) to make it work, but realistically can one person do it alone with bank financing only or will I absolutely have to beg investors? In turn, what do I offer investors?
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Re: Experts, please advise 21 Mar 2007 18:13 #14665

  • HollywoodOz
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You want to buy the building AND renovate it, and build a bar/kitchen, and promote it so people know it's reopened, and you're competing against two multiplexs in a town of only 45k?

I just walked away from a simlar opportunity in a town of 180k. If you don't have a lot of food experience, money, and help, you're really going to be up against it. I mean, maybe you'll make it work, but the numbers needed to be profitable after all that expense just to get it open are pretty fierce.
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Re: Experts, please advise 21 Mar 2007 23:33 #14666

  • Ken Layton
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Purchase price is too high if you want to do all that. I don't see how you could make any money.

Don't forget that a large old building like that is going to cost alot to heat it. Most of these buildings don't have any insulation, or if they do, it's all asbestos!
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Re: Experts, please advise 22 Mar 2007 00:04 #14667

  • slapintheface
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no way to high!
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Re: Experts, please advise 22 Mar 2007 00:53 #14668

  • HollywoodOz
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Might be a better option to just forego alcohol and lease the place, with a view to setting up for food and non-alcoholic drink options.

That way, at least you can get it open without spending half a mill on a purchase, and not for nothing, but there's a way bigger profit margin on soda than you'll get on beer.
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Re: Experts, please advise 22 Mar 2007 08:39 #14669

  • dsschoenborn
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Look at comp prices. You can go to the court house and look up the records on what other buildings have cost. The building is in bad shape etc. I know downtown buildings in my town of similar size that go for under 100K and they were in move in shape. If you have to dump a few $100K into a remodel because the place is not usable now $500K is a dream price.
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Re: Experts, please advise 22 Mar 2007 11:41 #14670

  • cft
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Thank you guys for all your insight. I know the building is WAY overpriced for the amount of work that would have to be done, but I really needed to hear it from people who know what they're talking about. If the city wasn't going through a big Downtown revitalization it would move for less than $100K. The people who own it really seem as if they would rather see it slowly deteriorate.

The city I live in is small, but we are part of a Tri-City area where travel between the three cities is extremely common. There are many counties in between who consider us the 'big city'. The only thing that would set this project apart from the other theatres besides hard-to-get films would be booze. I know from my stint in the restaurant biz that booze brings in the majority of cash. People here are dying for things major cities have, and the elite in this region love to exercise their popularity with the Jones's. I guess a better location is my best bet, but I so wanted it to be part of the Downtown.

How much outside marketing do you rely upon to bring in your audiences?
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Re: Experts, please advise 22 Mar 2007 13:23 #14671

  • HollywoodOz
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Good food will always give you an advantage.

Being able to have a beer with it would be nice, but anyone likely to be put off coming because beer isn't an option is probably someone you wouldn't want coming in.
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Re: Experts, please advise 22 Mar 2007 15:25 #14672

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<BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial, helvetica">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by HollywoodOz:
<B>Good food will always give you an advantage.

Being able to have a beer with it would be nice, but anyone likely to be put off coming because beer isn't an option is probably someone you wouldn't want coming in.</B><HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

You're right. I even rationalized doing everything in phases but for the hard time a nearby county gave one indie shop when he wanted to serve beer during screenings of sporting events. I think if the place did not cater to families and kids it may have been different.

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